Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State
I asked her if doing something she really enjoyed was a big part of being successful. She replied,
"I think that is a very good question. For me, it is. I think that you can't really think you're successful if you're in something that doesn't make you happy . Because no matter what the job, if it's drudgery, or you feel that you're in the wrong job, then you may be judged successful in somebody's eyes, but in your own eyes it is hard to say that is success. You asked how I measure success – I think that the best way to measure success is to try to think that you have made a difference in a field or in a avocation that you really like and if you feel that you've made a difference in it, or even if you're not working, if you have hobbies or something, I think if you feel that you've made a difference in something you like, I think that's success . "
On the Influence of Parents:
On Learning the Importance of Perseverance from her Parents’ Experiences:
You know, this has come up in a variety of ways, but when I was like 5 or 6, we were in England and I got a report card in which it said “Madeleine is discouraged by first difficulties”. My father took me aside because he was very loving but strict, he said “I never want to hear that about you again” and I do think that that is the advice that I would give people. It's that every part of our lives, getting a job in the first place, and it's pretty hard to go in and sit there in interviews and try to figure out what the person interviewing you wants, and how do you present the fact that you went to college as a resume? People ask you what your experience is before you have any experience. So I do think it's a model that's true anyway. I mean, you cannot be discouraged by first difficulties and it's hard. But that is something I have found very useful for myself and certainly for my own daughters and friends. I spent a lot of time with young people, and I think that one of the things that is really important is that people have overblown ideas of what they are capable of when they're 22 years old. Part of what has happened is that, in college these days, there are so many incredible opportunities for internships and travel abroad and all kinds of opportunities in the summers and then the entry level jobs are not that interesting…
I mean, you just graduated from college with a great degree that you can't get a job right away in your field, and so you go do something that isn't so great; or you even get a job in your chosen field but you're not making policy, you're making coffee. I think that people have to understand that you have to pay your dues. I've paid my dues. I worked very hard in a whole host of other things that took me a long time. I got paid back pretty well, but I really do think that it's just this kind of sense that nobody owes you a living, nobody owes you a job . The fact that you were fortunate enough to go to college is great, and some cases you have to pay back loans and in some cases your parents did it. But on the whole, you have to start out there and a good transcript is not enough to pay your dues.